Farmer left devastated after 63 in-lamb ewes stolen

A farmer says she is “absolutely devastated” after 63 pregnant ewes were stolen from a field in Cheshire.

Lottie May discovered the sheep were missing on Sunday 7 February from the field near Beeston Castle.

See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… sheep rustling

The ewes are due to lamb in four weeks and the farmer appealed for information on social media. The rustling has been reported to Cheshire Police.

Responding to comments on her appeal, Ms May said: “I feel sick, it’s just horrendous.”

The appeal has been shared nearly four thousand times.

Livestock worth an estimated £2.3m was stolen from UK farms in 2020 – making rustling one of the most costly crimes for British farmers after vehicle and machinery theft.

Advice for farmers

Livestock thieves scout the countryside for targets and come equipped to steal with large vehicles.

Protecting flocks requires increasingly sophisticated measures.

To deter livestock thieves, NFU Mutual advises farmers to:

  • Ensure stock is clearly marked and records are up to date
  • When possible, graze livestock in fields away from roads
  • Check stock regularly and vary times of feeding and checkups
  • Consider a high-tech marking system such as TecTracer, which puts thousands of coded microdot markers into a sheep’s fleece
  • Join a Farm or Rural Watch scheme to share information about rural crime in your area
  • Ask neighbours to report any suspicious sightings to the police, or to give information 100% anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
  • Dial 999 immediately if an incident is taking place – do not approach criminals
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